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Medical Cannabis

The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Act passed in December 2018, and the government promises regulations very soon.

The change includes:

  • The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Act received Royal Assent 18 December 2018, which means it is now law
  • A guarantee that by the end of 2019 a regulatory regime around licensing, production, prescription and consumption will be established
  • An extension of the statutory defence for people who are terminally ill or in palliative care. These people can use cannabis without fear of prosecution
  • Local strains of cannabis can be used in developing a domestic medicinal cannabis market.

In a New Zealand context, the term medicinal cannabis products encompasses several types of products that may be prescribed to treat various medical conditions.

Medicinal cannabis products, excluding cannabidiol (CBD) products, are Class B1 controlled drugs and Ministerial approval is required before most can be prescribed, supplied or administered, in accordance with regulation 22 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977.

Ministerial approval is required before most medicinal cannabis products can be prescribed, supplied or administered, in accordance with regulation 22 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977. Ministerial approval is delegated to the Ministry of Health.

Ministerial approval is not needed to prescribe:

  • Sativex for spasticity related to MS. More information can be found on the Medsafe website
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) products

A CBD product means a product that—

  1. contains cannabidiol; and
  2. either;
    i. ​does not contain a specified substance; or
    ii. contains specified substances in an amount that is no more than 2% of the sum of the amount of cannabidiol and the amount of specified substances in the product; and
  3. does not contain any other controlled drug; and
  4. does not contain a psychoactive substance (as defined in section 9 of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013)
  5. does not contain a psychoactive substance (as defined in section 9 of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013)

Read more: Non-Psychotropic plant cannabinoids

For further details discuss with your GP or go to

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/medicines-control/medicinal-cannabis/prescribing-medicinal-cannabis-products